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Learn About the Mysteries of the Body With Pocket Atlas of Anatomy (Trial)

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Pocket Atlas of Anatomy TR

    PCWorld Rating

If you are a student of human anatomy, you are probably familiar with the famous Gray's Anatomy and perhaps Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. These are not small or lightweight books, and if you have other textbooks to carry around as well, you have probably wished for a way to lighten your load. The Pocket Atlas of Anatomy (free seven-day trial; $30 for the full Atlas of Anatomy license key) is an Android app that combines material from these and other books in a dynamic, search-as-you-type format.

The search function also incorporates wildcards and a "fuzzy filter" for when you are unsure of the proper spelling of a word. It's a nice feature, one that should be incorporated into the search functionality of all apps.

While the app does provide an enormous amount of information, the format in which it displays that information is far from ideal for the small screens of Android devices. The resizing of the illustrations makes them so small that it's difficult to see the details of many anatomical structures, and while you can zoom in for a closer look, the zoom doesn't enlarge the images enough to be very useful. Moreover, the illustrations are labeled with numbers, and you have to scroll down the page to the corresponding caption. This means that you can look at the illustration or read the captions, but not both at the same time. Since many illustrations are very complex, with twenty or more captions, the back-and-forth effect can be disorienting and not very conducive to learning.

The app's home screen defaults to an alphabetized list of anatomical terms, with a search box that narrows the list as you type. Clicking a term takes you to a page with a list of adjacent structures, tiny diagrams, and a list of captions. It would be very handy to be able to bookmark a page, but that's not an option. The app does, however, keep a history of the last 50 items you have viewed.

The Atlas also has a Table of Contents--but finding it is not very intuitive (Menu, Special Topics, Table of Contents). Once you find it, the Table of Contents is quite well-organized, but since it takes three clicks to get to it, its convenience is much reduced.

The Pocket Atlas of Anatomy could become a great app if its interface improves, but for now I couldn't justify the $30 price tag of the unlocked version. Perhaps if you download the seven-day free trial, you may like it enough to purchase it, but I am still looking for a better anatomical reference app for Android.

You might also want to check out the excellent Speed Anatomy app. Though it's not as comprehensive as Pocket Atlas of Anatomy, it is much better-optimized for the Android touchscreen.

Do you know of a great medical reference app? Contact Brent W. Hopkins on Twitter as @brentwhopkins. You might also like other articles by Brent W. Hopkins.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Pocket Atlas of Anatomy TR

    PCWorld Rating
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